CNN screenshot, not actually this week

President Joe Biden used his executive authority this week to clear away more detritus left behind by his predecessor, revoking Donald Trump's orders and memoranda on immigration, federal architecture standards, and "anarchist jurisdictions," as if such a thing ever existed in the first place. There's just so much stupid Trumpy shit to clean up, given the penchant of the White House's previous occupant to throw out executive orders whenever he was pissed off or thought he might wring a few more votes from his always-angry base.


The biggest change was probably Biden's undoing of a Trump order that had barred people from getting new work visas or applying for green cards, a measure Trump had framed as protecting US workers during the pandemic, but that mostly just caused chaos for US employers that rely on a diverse workforce. Here's a nice 'splainer from NPR:

Former President Donald Trump had frozen "green cards" for new immigrants and halted temporary work visas for skilled workers, managers and au pairs in the H-1B, H-4, H-2B, L-1 and J categories, he said to protect jobs. [...]

But on Wednesday Biden said the earlier policy has prevented qualified and eligible non-U.S. residents from entering the country, "resulting, in some cases, in the delay and possible forfeiture of their opportunity ... and to realize their dreams in the United States."

Trump's visa and green card freeze was already set to expire at the end of March, but Biden's order Wednesday means foreigns can start applying for the visas immediately. Biden said the Trump action was bad for US companies and noncitizens, for starters. Beyond that, he said, the rule had been "preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here."

Biden's action also ought to save a little bit of money in the judicial system, since it should render moot lawsuits against the Trump rule that had been filed by the National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Another order Wednesday undid Trump's probably illegal-anyway order from September aimed at blocking federal funds from going to "anarchist" cities that were "failing to enforce the law, disempowering and significantly defunding their police departments, and refusing to accept offers of Federal law enforcement assistance." It was a transparent election-year bid to whip up wingnut votes by punishing cities with Democratic mayors, and almost certainly unconstitutional, because Congress is responsible for directing where federal funding goes.

In late September, the Justice Department nonetheless declared, conveniently, that three cities Trump had personally complained about — Portland, Seattle, and New York City — were indeed 'anarchist jurisdictions" that could have all sorts of federal funds withheld until they started busting some protesters' heads like God wanted.

All three cities immediately filed lawsuits, and again, Biden's order should mean those can now be dropped. Seattle's city attorney, Pete Holmes, said he was "glad to have this nonsense cleared from the decks." Guess that means Seattle and Portland will now go up in flames again, just like both cities burned to the ground every single night last summer, only to be rebuilt during the day, like that bridge in Apocalypse Now.

Yet another Biden order rolled back Trump's weirdly fascistic decree that sought to promote "beautiful" federal architecture. In its final form, the order backed away from actually mandating that all new federal buildings be built in a neoclassical style, but it was a stupid, unnecessary culture war measure all the same, intended to satisfy the bizarre rightwing hatred of modern architecture. So hooray, Frank Gehry and postmodernism for everyone!

In addition to those bits of housekeeping, the AP notes two others: Biden put the kibosh on an order

Trump issued in the final days of his presidency dubbed the "Ensuring Democratic Accountability in Agency Rulemaking." It called for limiting the ability of federal agency employees in making regulatory decisions.

Biden also revoked a 2018 order that called for agency heads across the government to review welfare programs — such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing aid — and strengthening work requirements for certain recipients.

And somewhere in Washington, a bureaucrat who'd been putting off an assignment to be more cruel to the poor sipped their coffee with great satisfaction, the end.

[AP/KING-TV / NPR / Guardian / NYDN via Joe.My.God.]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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